21 foods we should eat more of in 2021

What are the healthiest foods to put in your shopping trolley? Check out the Heart Foundation’s list of easy-to-find ingredients that are great choices for you and your family.  

1. Nuts

Nuts are full of healthy fats that can help lower your risk of heart disease. Go for raw or dry-roasted varieties, and make sure they are unsalted. 

A handful of almonds

2. Seeds

Like nuts, seeds are high in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which can improve your cholesterol levels. Try sprinkling seeds over unflavoured yoghurt or add to salads for extra crunch. 

Pumpkin seeds

3. Avocado

Avocados are high in healthy monounsaturated fats and make a great heart-healthy alternative to butter. 

Avocado chopped in half

4. Extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil is a high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, making it great for your heart and an ideal cooking oil.

Five bottles of oil

5. Herbs

Use herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley and coriander to garnish and flavour your food instead of adding salt. Eating too much salt can increase blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Parsley and mints

6. Spices

Like herbs, spices can pack a punch of flavour when cooking.  Experiment with spices like chilli, pepper, cumin, turmeric and curry powder and you will find you don’t need to add salt at all!

Chillies

7. Vegetables

Vegetables are very important in a heart-healthy eating pattern, and most Australians aren’t eating enough. Vegetables contain fibre, micronutrients and antioxidants which help reduce the risk of heart disease. Aim to eat a wide variety of vegetables of all different colours.

Vegetables in jars

8. Fruit

Like vegetables, fruit is also important for heart health. Fruit contains micronutrients, antioxidants and fibre – all of which help manage cholesterol and blood pressure levels and protect your heart. Go for lots of different types of fruit and remember it’s best to eat the actual fruit rather than drink the juice.

Strawberries in a bowl, with chopped strawberries on the side


9. Fish/seafood

Fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating foods that contain omega-3s can help to lower your heart rate and improve its rhythm, reduce the risk of developing blood clots and help to lower blood pressure.

3 fillets of salmon on ice with lemon

10. Beans

Beans are another versatile food belonging to the legume family. There are many different types of beans such as kidney beans, cannellini beans and soybeans. Beans are full of soluble fibre which can help lower total cholesterol, and they also count towards your vegetable intake for the day.  Canned, frozen and fresh beans are all healthy options – just make sure you choose products with no added salt.

Beans

11. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are part of the legume family, making them one of the healthiest protein foods. They are ultra-versatile and can be used in soups, curries, or to make vegetarian patties. 

A bowl of chickpeas

12. Lentils

Lentils are also part of the legume family and make a great alternative to meat so why not try using lentils a few times a week instead? They are full of protein and fibre so will keep you feeling full.

A bowl of lentils

13. Unflavoured yoghurt

The evidence shows that on balance yoghurt doesn’t remarkably increase or decrease the risk of heart disease. But it is still a quick and easy snack option, and a preferable choice to discretionary foods such as cakes, lollies and pastries. Choose unflavoured varieties to avoid added sugars. 

Two jars of unflavoured yoghurt

14. Oats

Oats are high in soluble fibre, which can help reduce total cholesterol. The soluble fibre will also help keep you feeling fuller for longer, making oats a perfect breakfast option.  

A bowl of overnight oats

15. Brown rice

Brown rice is a healthier alternative to white rice as it is a wholegrain. The fibre from wholegrains can help reduce “bad” cholesterol, which can lower your risk of heart disease.

Brown rice

16. Wholegrain Bread

Wholegrain bread is an easy way to help boost your daily wholegrain and fibre intake. A good complement to eat with other heart-healthy foods such as avocado, salad vegetables and healthy protein foods.

Green goodness sandwich with wholegrain bread

17. Eggs

Eggs are an easy, versatile and nutritious ingredient to use as a heart-healthy protein and are a delicious way to pull together vegetables and wholegrains. Eggs neither increase nor decrease the risk of heart disease in most people. When it comes to eggs it’s important to look at your whole eating pattern. They can be included as one of a variety of healthy protein foods chosen across the week including fish and seafood, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Eggs cooked within capsicums

18. Unflavoured Milk  

Similar to unflavoured yoghurt and cheese, milk can be a healthy dairy snack option and contribute to healthy meals when eaten with vegetables, wholegrains or fruit. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.

Someone holding a glass of milk

19. Cheese

Like unflavoured milk and yoghurt, cheese can be a healthy snack option and contribute to healthy meals when eaten with vegetables, wholegrains, or fruit. If you have high blood cholesterol, you should choose reduced fat varieties. It can be easier to use smaller amounts of stronger flavoured cheeses such as parmesan in cooking.

Cheese

20. Tofu

Tofu is a protein made from soybeans. It is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes such as curries or stir-fries. If you’re not sure where to start with tofu, why not try our chilli tofu and sweet potato recipe here

 

A japanese tofu salad

21. Water

When it comes to heart-healthy drinks water is the best choice. It keeps us hydrated, has no kilojoules and is cheap! 

Water topped with some simple fruit

Coles has partnered with the Heart Foundation to provide this content to you and help Australians live healthier and happier lives.

For personalised heart health information and support, contact the Heart Foundation Helpline 13 11 12.

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